*Posted by Barry Creamer
Here’s a bumper sticker I saw on the road recently:
It is sold at evolvefish.com. Don’t buy it.
Presumably it “uses” the point that parents should not psychologically pummel their children with threats of mythical torture in the afterlife. I say “uses” rather than “makes” because the point it makes, considering the products sold at that particular merchant, is rather that Christianity is an intellectually dishonest means of manipulating inferior and vulnerable minds.
The problem with the content of the sticker is that it makes rhetorical hay by combining two presumptions, neither of which is a valid: first, that Christian parents regularly threaten their children with hell, and second, that it is terrible to tell vulnerable people about something so awful.
Now I’ll just grant up front that showing children Rosemary’s Baby before bedtime in order to get them to be obedient is a bad idea. I’ve been a believer since I was nine. I raised four children and pastored one church for seventeen years. I’ve never known even one believer to threaten his or her children with hell in order to get any kind of obedience…. I’ve paused a bit after that sentence so I can reflect to make sure it’s true…. Wait just a moment…. Yup. It’s true. Not one.
So the bumper sticker is attacking not a real believer (at least none I know of), but a caricature of believers generated in who knows how many media outlets and minds. Rather than analyze all the errors, and the basic fallacy of the bumper sticker logically, allow me to duplicate its error in my own (non-existent) bumper sticker by presuming that those who reject the idea of any eternal judgment and who believe children should not be burdened by the weight of negative thoughts would in some way prefer daily to keep their children in oblivious bliss than let them find out the truth: that there is evil in the world which needs eternal judgment. It would be something like this: